pipes to carry his grace to others and not buckets
content to hoard it. Grace comes to us, to go through
us, to others
~ James Wilhoit
We hoard by nature. We get
hold of and hang onto. In a competitive world we
gather and guard. (Just check your garage and storage
closets.) And we carry this obsession into our spiritual
The image of pipes rather than buckets
might help us loosen our grip a little.
The grace of God that comes to us is
never meant to stop with us. The saving, healing, and
transforming power of grace simply mends the breaks and
blockages that have inhibited our journey with God and
each other. When the pipeline is restored, it becomes a
conduit of healing and hope to others.
Spiritual gifts, generally misunderstood
and selfishly sought, also come to us to go through us
to others. The charisma ("gift") is a
charis ("grace") that aids in the healing and
restoring of the world -- not our private worlds but the
Jesus reminded His disciples, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing."
(John 15:5) Yet, we try repeatedly.
We accumulate knowledge, fine-tune various skills, and get advice.
Our normal working model looks more like a bucket than a
pipeline. We keep gathering, so that we might "minister
out of the overflow." I've used that language many times
But the pipeline model challenges
us to think differently. Rather than serve out of
the overflow, we strive to be unblocked pipelines for the
meaningful through-flow of the Spirit. Instead of more
answers we need more purifying (holiness) and more
Perhaps the famous 19th century Scottish
preacher Robert Murray M'Cheyne got it right: "The
greatest need of my people is my personal holiness." Is
that not true for all of us?
All analogies break down eventually, and the "pipeline" may be
no different. But it stirs me to think differently.
It's not "What have I got that I can pass on?" but "What
can the Father pass on through me?" It changes the
posture of the heart significantly.
May each of us know the grace of Christ
to us and through us.
In HOPE --